Lame 'Girl Toys' I Hope My Boys Never Want to Play With

I wrote something on Twitter a while back about being glad I was the parent of boys because it meant I didn't have to have anything to do with that Rainbow Loom bracelet-weaving crapola. People didn't waste any time correcting me: it seems the Loom is embraced by plenty of boys. Plus, but as one of my friends explained it to me, "Imagine an 8-year-old, awake but silent for hours at a time -- at only the cost of some rubber bands. This is the power of the Rainbow Loom." Touché.

I was wrong in assuming that loom-ing was mostly a girls-only activity, so let me rephrase: my own boys have zero interest in making rubber jewelry, and that's more than fine by me.

Not that I have any sort of gender bias against boys crafting things out of "Twistz Bandz," but because -- well, I don't want to have to help. I don't want to know what a triple single is, I don't want to watch Rainbow Loom how-to videos on YouTube, and I don't want the 925869123057 rubber bands that would inevitably end up clogging my vacuum cleaner.

When it comes to toys, my kids skew towards some pretty traditional gender stereotypes. Yes, I've seen the many articles advising me to do my level best to discourage their fondness for action figures, monster trucks, and objects that make obnoxious pew pew pew noises in favor of molding their behavior to reject "toxic" gender roles, but what can I say? Somewhere along the line, I must have failed as a parent, because I have two penis-bearing children who have a deep and abiding love for foam-based weaponry.

I'm definitely not saying that the things they're interested in are also, by and large, the things I'm interested in -- but I'm glad their various hobbies and interests don't extend to these particular "girl" toys (which I fully concede are not necessarily girl-specific, your mileage may vary, other disclaimers here, etcetera):

American Girl dolls. Because it is just sort of creepy for your kid to have a doll that looks like a mini-sized version of herself, THERE I SAID IT. Plus, holy fuck these things are expensive. And there are accessories! And clothing! And furniture.

Dolls, period. Seriously, dolls just give me the willies. Especially after they've been well-loved for a number of months and they're all gray and dingy and naked but their eyes never stop tracking you ever not even at night.

Disney princess stuff. I feel like however deep the marketing rabbit hole may seem for Ninjago-related merchandise, Disney's is, like, ETERNAL. You can spend every last dime of your income and never come close to acquiring all the various Sofia the First costumes, swimwear, tiaras, pajamas, enchanted amulet sets, shoes, water bottles, bedding, placemats, plashes, magical talking castle toys, CDs, books, sunglasses, and reusable totes that are available.

That Monster High business. As Deadspin's Drew Magary hilariously described this toy line,

It's like someone at Mattel held up a market research study and screamed, "Our Barbie dolls aren't causing as much body dysmorphia in children as they used to! MAKE ME A LINE OF BULIMIC VAMPIRE DOLLS OR YOU'RE ALL FUCKING FIRED." How are these toys even legal? It's like handing your child a Steve Madden ad.

Not only are these dolls, which I've already stated my dislike for, but they're all dressed in tiny miniskirts with thigh-high boots and they have chronic bitchface. I don't need some slutty doll lying around giving me the stinkeye, thank you very much.

Of course, I could write an entirely different article about how the most popular "boy toys" are equally annoying, and how Rainbow Loom rubber bands are probably way easier to vacuum than the discarded bricks from a LEGO X-Wing fighter. So in conclusion, children have terrible taste and they frequently end up falling in love with awful overpriced gender-stereotypical doodads and that's the way it's always been and likely always will be, amen and pass the Tylenol.

What are your least favorite kids' toy obsessions (girl, boy, whatever)?


Image via blake/Flickr

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can_c... can_can21

I personally don't mind rainbow looms or anything that encourages creativity. I don't mind dolls or Disney princesses, but I don't think Monster High dolls are distasteful. 

JS0512 JS0512

My 12 year old is OBSESSED with her rainbow loom & I hate that damn thing.  Yes, it keeps her occupied for hours at a time.  HOWEVER, everyone buys her packages of bands ALL. THE. TIME.  We must have millions of those fuckers at my house (read: all over the floor).  And she has made hundreds of the bracelets.  How many has she ever worn?  ZERO!  What. Is. The. Damn. Point!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I like the rainbow loom, I've been known to play with it after the boy goes to bed. It's soothing and repetitive and unlike regular meditation you get to make your kid happy in the morning by giving him a new bracelet.



What I don't like are toys that shoot little missiles that get lost. Especially Nerf bullets. I'm sure the design brief for that included the phrase "perfect size and materials to choke a crawling baby sister."

Tracys2 Tracys2

Apart from dolls/action figures, which one needs to drive the remote-controlled cars and boats and such, I agree with all of this. Sadly, my elder daughter LOVES girly stuff. It is hard to deal with, but I let her be her. My son, the younger daughter (by far the roughest in the house) and I can have our foam sword fights.

chigi... chigirl1228

The rainbow loom is soothing. My daughter is occupied mostly by it but I use it too lol. Monster High dolls are ugly and when they showed up on my step daughter's christmas list a couple years ago the look on my face in the store was probably priceless. But the tv show is worse. Kids toys now suck. I miss regular my little pony that had all different ones not just the same pink or purple pony with different accessories. Or now they make one that is like a human pony combined. Really?

nonmember avatar engineeringirl

I must disagree with your statement that American Girl Dolls are lame. Growing up, I was gifted "Molly", the American Girl from WWII. As I started to read the "Molly" book series about her life as a young girl during this period in our Nation's history, I became more and more interested in US History. The American Girl series helps to tell a story about the American History subject that we only read about in school History books. These books put a face to the stories, making them relate-able to kids and growing interest in US history. I became an avid reader in fourth grade, eventually reading all the American Girl books from different eras in US History as well as other historical fiction books like the "Little House on the Prairie" series. My love of reading inspired by the American Girl Dolls grew me into a well-rounded, well-read, intelligent woman who pursued a bachelor's degree in engineering. At the age of 30, I manage other engineers who work in NASA's Mission Control Center. I'm not saying that I owe all my success to the American Girl Doll franchise, but I believe the American Girl Dolls and their books can spark a love of learning in the minds of young girls which can lead to successful careers. The American Girl Dolls should not be discounted as lame girl toys when they obviously can leave a larger impact.

Baile... Bailey8307

"I don't want the 925869123057 rubber bands that would inevitably end up clogging my vacuum cleaner." This.

OhLaBree OhLaBree

My 8 year old has pretty much taught herself how to 'Rainbow Loom.' She's pretty good. Thank heavens, because I'm horrible at that sort of thing myself! Glad she was smart enough to figure it herself. After seeing his sister's million and one bracelets and charms (she's gooood!), my 6 year old son decided he wanted one! I don't mind. Would rather see them doing something productive than sitting on their tablets or playing XBox. In our small town Rainbow Loom is all the rage: for boys and girls alike!

Alicia Burgdorff Kurzer

As a mom of 3 girls and 2 boys, I am glad that the gender roles are very much defined. That being said, it is nothing for my boys to pick up a doll to play with and my girls to race cars. My older son is 3 now and he has started in the with the pew/pew/pew stuff with sticks and other items he thinks looks like a gun. Am I offended by it? No, I am half wondering what took so long. 


The rainbow looms have been wonderful for my girls (my boys are too young being 3 and 1). My 2 older girls have ADHD and so can be overly loud, hyper, and unable to calm down. The rainbow loom gives them  a chance to sit down and focus on something that is fun, outside of schoolwork. Just because it is stupid for one doesn't mean that it should be disregarded by other moms


 

Bruic... Bruickson

Freaking play-doh. My daughter loves it and I am constantly cleaning dried bits of it from every surface in my house. And when I finally get that all cleaned up I get to dig it out from under her nails.

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